Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fresh Tomato Sauce

I found this recipe while reading the NYT at work a while ago when I was drowning in CSA tomatoes.
I swapped the canned tomatoes out in favor of my fresh tomatoes, and employed an immersion blender which results in a frothy, creamy, thick, bright orange -- and SUPER DELICIOUS -- sauce.

yield: sauce for 1 lb of pasta

2 lbs fresh tomatoes, diced
5 tbs salted butter, cold
1 onion, diced
2 tsp sea salt (more as needed)

  1. Combine tomatoes and their juices, butter, salt, and onion in a large saucepan. 
  2. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  3. Cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes; stir occasionally.
  4. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth.
  5. Enjoy!

    Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

    A mix and match of a cupcake recipe and a buttercream recipe, these are simple in flavor but defintiely not plain.

    yield:  24 cupcakes

    for cupcakes
    2 ½ C all-purpose flour
    3 tsp baking powder
    1 ½ C sugar
    12 tbs salted butter, room temperature
    2 eggs + 2 egg white, room temperature
    2 tsp vanilla bean paste
    1 C milk

    for vanilla bean buttercream
    3 ½ sticks salted butter, room temperature
    3 ½ C powdered sugar
    3 tbs milk
    1 tbs vanilla bean paste

    1.  for cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°.
    2. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat sugar and eggs together on medium high speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
    4. Reduce speed to low and add eggs and egg whites one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition.
    5. Add flour in 3 additions, alternating with the milk; scrape down the bowl as needed.
    6. Add vanilla and baking powder.
    7. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for ~30 seconds until well combined.
    8. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.
    9. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
    10. Let cupcakes cool completely.
    11. for buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter for 8 minutes on medium speed until pale and creamy.
    12. Reduce speed to low and add remaining ingredients slowly.
    13. Increase speed to medium and beat for 6 minutes until light and fluffy.
    14. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.
    15. Enjoy!

    Honey Sriracha Oven Baked Wings

    Football and wings are just two things that always go together for me.
    This recipe is delicious, and while the wings didn't have the crispy crunchy outside of a fried wing they (and especially the sauce) were delicious.

    I bought a 10 lb bag of pre-separated frozen wings from Costco and used 4 different kinds of sauce (3 bottled + this honey sriracha sauce)-- this homemade sauce was the favorite by far.

    yield: ~30 wing pieces

    ~30 chicken wing pieces, thawed if frozen
    sea salt
    black pepper
    ¼ C extra virgin olive oil

    for honey sriracha sauce
    ½ C sriracha
    ½ C honey (I used raw buckwheat honey)
    1 tbs olive oil 
    3 tbs molasses
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    2 tbs onion flakes (I used Tastefully Simple Onion Onion) 

    1. Preheat oven to 350°.
    2. Put the wings in a bowl, season liberally with salt and pepper.
    3. Drizzle with olive oil, mix around to make sure all wings are coated.
    4. In a large rectangle baking dish (I used my pyrex), add enough aluminum foil to completely cover the wings (you are going to make an aluminum foil pouch of wings). Use more than one dish if you need to.
    5. Add the wings in a single layer to the prepared dish.
    6. Close and seal all sides of the aluminum foil around the wings.
    7. Bake for 50 minutes.
    8. for honey sriracha sauce: Combine all ingredients into a large bowl, whisk well to combine.
    9. Cover sauce and place in the refrigerator until the wings are done cooking.
    10. When the wings are done cooking, remove from the oven and carefully open the foil pouch.
    11. Carefully pour off the juices.
    12. Place wings into sauce bowl (I used tongs to pick them up and put them in there).
    13. Make sure all of the wings are coated.
    14. Place wings back into the aluminum foil lined baking dish, but don't close the pouch.
    15. Turn the broiler on low.
    16. Place wings under the broiler for 4 minutes.
    17. Remove the baking dish from the oven and carefully flip each wing.
    18. Place wings back under the broiler for 4 minutes.
    19. Toss wings in any remaining sauce before serving.
    20. Enjoy!

    Monday, January 12, 2015

    Raw Pad Thai

    I have been on the hunt lately for recipes that are new and delicious, but also better for me.
    This recipe fit the bill and was also a healthier option for my football snacking yesterday.
    for salad
    1 medium zucchini, spiralized
    2 large carrots, grated
    1 red pepper, thinly sliced
    1 C thinly sliced red cabbage
    1 1/2 C shelled edamame (if frozen, make sure to thaw)
    3 green onion, thinly sliced
    2 tbs sesame seeds

    for dressing
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/4 C peanut butter
    2 tbs lime juice
    2 tbs tamari
    2 tbs water
    2 1/2 tsp maple syrup
    1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
    1 tsp freshly grated ginger

    1. Combine zucchini, carrots, red pepper, cabbage, edamame, and green onion in a large bowl.
    2. for dressing: Add all ingredients to a food processor (or whisk by hand in a medium bowl) and process until smooth and combined.
    3. Add dressing to the bowl of vegetables and toss to coat evenly.
    4. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
    5. Enjoy!

    Loaded Baked Potato Nachos

    Though my Denver Broncos lost yesterday, I did try out three new recipes. 
    This one was an easy and delicious crow pleaser!

    2 lbs russet potatoes
    1 tbs cumin
    1 tbs chili powder
    4 tbs olive oil 
    3 C shredded cheddar cheese (I used Kraft Triple Cheddar)
    1 lb bacon, crispy & cut into small strips
    3 scallions, diced
    1. Peel and slice potatoes into 1/4" thick slices.
    2. Add potatoes, olive oil, cumin, and chili powder into a gallon size ziploc bag.
    3. Close the bag and shake until all potato slices are evenly coated.
    4. Heat a griddle to 400° (or use a frying pan over medium-high heat).
    5. Grill potatoes until they are golden brown on each side, about 4 minutes per side.
    6. Preheat oven to 350°.
    7. Place single layer of potatoes into a large round baking dish (I used my Le Creuset braiser).
    8. Add some of the cheese and bacon on top of the potatoes.
    9. Keep layering potatoes and cheese/bacon until you run out of both (I ended up with 3 layers but my pan was very large).
    10. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are hot and the cheese has melted.
    11. Top with scallions.
    12. Serve with sour cream for dipping.
    13. Enjoy!

    Friday, January 9, 2015

    My Thanksgiving Menu 2014

    This is very VERY late, but it was delicious and made for a lot of leftovers!
    I also totally forgot to take a picture of my dinner table this year, but I did remember in time for dessert (figures).

    Rosemary Orange Roasted Turkey
    Sweet Potato Casserole
    Crockpot Mashed Potatoes
    Herbed Corn
    Corn Bread Stuffing
    Cranberry Sauce
    Green Beans with Bacon & Brown Sugar

    Banoffee Pie
    Pumpkin Pie
    Apple Pie
    Black Cocoa Chocolate Cake
    Grand Marnier Fruit Dip & Fresh Fruit

    Salted Caramel Cupcakes

    Salt + Caramel = Heaven.
    This recipe was more proof that this equation is for real.
    yield: 12 cupcakes

    for caramel cupcakes
    1 ½ C all-purpose flour
    ¾ tsp baking powder
    1 C dark brown sugar
    ½ C sugar
    ½ C salt butter, room temperature
    2 eggs, room temperature
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    ½ C whole milk

    for salted caramel frosting
    ½ C salted butter
    1 C brown sugar
    ⅓ C heavy cream
    ¾ tsp salt
    3 C powdered sugar

    1. for caramel cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°.
    2. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat butter and sugars together at medium-high speed for 3 minutes.
    4. Lower speed to medium-low and add the eggs and vanilla; beat until combined.
    5. Slowly add the dry ingredients, scraping the bowl as needed.
    6. On low speed, add in milk until just combined.
    7. Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full.
    8. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
    9. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
    10. for salted caramel frosting: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
    11. Once melted, add brown sugar and heavy cream; stir constantly until sugar is dissolved.
    12. Add salt; allow mixture to bubble for 3 minutes.
    13. Remove from heat and allow to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes.
    14. Pour mixed into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
    15. On low speed, add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. 
    16. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
    17. Enjoy!

    Oatmeal Power Bowl

    I need to eat breakfast every morning. I also need that breakfast to be healthy, filling, and easy to grab on the way out the door in the morning.
    This recipe is filling, easy, and prepping the night before makes it super easy to grab and go.

    yield:1 breakfast

    for oatmeal
    1 ripe banana, mashed
    2 tbs chia seeds
    1/3 cup old fashioned oats
    1/4 tsp cinnamon
    2/3 C milk (I used organic skim)
    1/3 C water

    for topping
    2 tbs sliced almonds
    1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp ground allspice
    1/4 tsp ground ginger

    1. In a medium bowl (a container with a lid makes it very convenient for grab and go), stir together all oatmeal ingredients until well combined.
    2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
    3. Microwave bowl for 2 minutes on high.
    4. Stir in toppings.
    5. Enjoy!

    Pumpkin Pie

    As mentioned (over and over), I love pumpkin. I also bought A LOT of pumpkins at the farm this year.
    We needed pie for Thanksgiving and I selected this recipe to up my game from my previous pumpkin pie attempts.
    It. Was. Phenomenal.
    for pie crust
    2 ½ C all-purpose flour
    6 tbs salted butter, chilled and cubed
    ¾ C vegetable shortening, chilled
    ⅔ C ice water

    for pie filling
    2 C pumpkin puree (I used fresh)
    3 large eggs, room temperature
    1 ¼ C dark brown sugar
    1 tbs cornstarch
    ½ tsp salt
    1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    ½ tsp ground ginger
    ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
    ⅛ tsp ground cloves
    ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
    1 C heavy cream
    ¼ C milk (I used skim)

    1 egg beaten with 1 tsp milk (for brushing)

    1. for crust: Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl.
    2. Add shortening and butter.
    3. Using a pastry blender (or two forks), cut the butter and shortening until the mixture looks like coarse meal.
    4. Slowly drizzle ice water into the bowl, stirring with a large spatula after every tablespoon you add (do not add any more water than you need to, stop adding water once the dough starts to clump).
    5. Roll out dough on a floured work surface.
    6. Form dough into a ball and then divide in half.
    7. Flatten each half into 1" thick discs using your hands.
    8. Wrap each half tightly in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
    9. for the filling: Whisk pumpkin, 3 eggs, and brown sugar until combined.
    10. Add cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, cream, and milk.
    11. Whisk until everything is combined and smooth (filling will be thick).
    12. for the pie: Preheat oven to 350°.
    13. On a floured work surface, roll out one of the balls of chilled dough to about 1/8" thickness.
    14. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes.
    15. Brush each lightly with the beaten egg/milk mixture.
    16. Place onto a parchment paper or Silpat lined baking sheet.
    17. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned; remove and set aside to cool.
    18. Raise oven temperature to 375°
    19. Remove second pie dough from the refrigerator and roll out to a ~12" circle.
    20. Carefully place dough in a 9" deep dish pie pan, making sure that it is smooth.
    21. Crimp the excess dough at the edges. 
    22. Brush edges lightly with beaten egg/milk mixture.
    23. Bake crust for 10 minutes.
    24. Pour pumpkin pie filling into the crust.
    25. Use a pie crust shield (or aluminum foil) to prevent the edges from becoming too browned.
    26. Bake pie for 55-60 minutes, until the pie center is almost set.
    27. Transfer pie to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
    28. Decorate with pie crust leaves.
    29. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
    30. Enjoy!

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

    Potsticker Meatball Soup

    I love potstickers, so when I saw this recipe for potsticker soup I knew I had to try it.
    I modified the recipe slightly but it did not disappoint!
    yield: 6 servings

    for meatballs
    1 lb ground turkey
    1 egg
    ⅓ C all-purpose flour
    1 tsp minced ginger
    ⅓ C scallions, chopped
    1 tbs soy sauce
    ½ tsp garlic powder
    ½ tsp salt

    for broth
    1 tsp sesame oil
    2 tbs minced ginger
    1 tsp minced ginger
    32oz chicken broth
    6 C water
    2 tbs soy sauce
    ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    ½ tsp salt

    for soup
    8.8oz box of thin rice noodles
    2 C shredded red cabbage
    4 radishes, sliced into sticks
    ¼ C shredded carrot
    ½ C chopped scallions
    ½ C chopped cilantro

    1. for meatballs: Combine all meatball ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
    2. Form into ~24 bite size meatballs; set aside.
    3. for broth: In a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, heat the sesame oil and add the minced garlic and ginger; cook for 1 minute.
    4. Add chicken broth, water, soy sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt.
    5. Bring to a boil.
    6. Lower heat to medium-low and add meatballs.
    7. Cover pan and let simmer for 30 minutes.
    8. for soup: Remove lid and add all soup ingredients into the saucepan.
    9. Lower heat to low and let cook for 15 minutes.
    10. Enjoy!

    Copycat PF Chang's Mongolian Beef

    My goal for 2014 is to try at least 1 new recipe per week, I came across this recipe on Pinterest and in my quest to try new things thought it would be a good step --- I mean, who doesn't love PF Changs?!
    yield:6 servings

    2 lb top sirloin
    1/2 C cornstarch
    1/2 C vegetable oil

    for sauce
    2 tbs sesame oil
    1 C soy sauce
    1 C brown sugar
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1 C water
    3 green onions, diced

    1. Slice the steak into small thin pieces against the grain.
    2. Combine the beef and cornstarch in a gallon size ziploc bag.
    3. Close the bag and shake really well until each piece of meat is coated with cornstarch; refrigerate until ready to use.
    4. In a small sauce pan, add oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and water.
    5. Stir and cook over medium heat, about 30 minutes, until the sauce thickens and reduces; set aside.
    6. In a large skillet, heat the oil.
    7. When the oil is hot (the surface will look ripply), add beef and cook until browned. (Doing this in two batches is probably best to avoid uneven cooking - add more oil for second batch if you need it).
    8. Drain any excess oil from the skillet.
    9. Pour sauce over the beef in the skillet; stir and cook for 5 more minutes.
    10. Top with green onions and serve over rice.
    11. Enjoy!

    Sweet Potato Corn Cakes & Garlic Dipping Sauce

    We had a lot of leftover sweet potatoes from Thanksgiving that were on their way to going bad and needed to be used fast.
    This recipe was different, pretty easy, relatively healthy, and very delicious.
    The cakes were also more filling than I expected them to be.
    yield: ~20 cakes

    for sweet potato corn cakes
    3 lbs sweet potatoes
    1 C frozen corn kernels
    2 green onions, diced
    1 handful cilantro, roughly chopped
    1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    1 tsp cumin
    1 tsp salt
    1 large egg
    1/3 C yellow cornmeal
    1 C panko breadcrumbs
    1/2 C vegetable oil (for frying)

    for garlic dipping sauce
    1 C plain Greek yogurt
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 handful cilantro, roughly chopped

    1. for sweet potato corn cakes: Prick the skin of each sweet potato with a fork, wrap each potato in a paper towel, and microwave one at a time on high for 5 minutes.
    2. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them open and scoop the insides into a large bowl.
    3. Add green onions, cilantro, corn, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper to the bowl with the sweet potatoes; stir until well combined.
    4. Add the breadcrumbs, cornmeal, and egg tot he bowl; stir until evenly combined.
    5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to absorb moisture.
    6. for garlic dipping sauce: In a small bowl, stir the yogurt, garlic, and cilantro together until well combined; refrigerate until ready to serve.
    7. for sweet potato corn cakes: Add vegetable oil to medium skillet over medium-high heat.
    8. Heat oil until the surface becomes wavy (but pull off the heat if the oil starts to smoke).
    9. Shape the sweet potato mixture into small patties (about 3 tbs each) and cook 4 at a time in the oil.
    10. Cook ~2 minutes each side, until cakes are golden brown.
    11. After cooking, place cakes on a paper towel covered plate to drain excess oil.
    12. Add more oil to the skillet as needed.
    13. Serve warm with garlic dipping sauce.
    14. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, January 7, 2015

    Chicken Spinach Rollatini

    I love chicken parm.
    This recipe is kind of like what would happen if chicken parm, spinach, and ravioli filling had a baby.
    It was messy but different and delicious.

    yield: 8 servings

    8 thinly sliced chicken cutlets, ~3oz each
    ½ C italian seasoned breadcrumbs
    ¼ C grated parmesan cheese
    6 tbs egg whites
    5oz fresh spinach
    8oz burrata cheese
    6oz mozzarella
    1 C marinara sauce
    olive oil mister
    salt and pepper to taste

    1. Season cutlets with salt and pepper.
    2. Preheat oven to 450°.
    3. Lightly spray a baking dish with nonstick spray (or olive oil mister).
    4. Combine breadcrumbs and 2 tbs grated cheese in one bowl and ¼ C egg whites in another.
    5. In a medium bowl, shred 1.5 oz of mozzarella and add remaining grated parmesan cheese, spinach, 2 tbs egg whites, and burrata cheese.
    6. Lay chicken cutlets down and spread 2 tbs of spinach-cheese mixture on each cutlet. 
    7. Loosely roll each one, keeping the seam side down.
    8. Dip chicken in egg mixture, then dip in breadcrumbs, and place seam side down in the baking dish.
    9. Repeat with each remaining chicken roll.
    10. When finished, lightly spray with olive oil. 
    11. Bake 25 minutes.
    12. Remove from the oven, top with sauce and remaining mozzarella.
    13. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 3 more minutes.
    14. Enjoy!

    Butternut Squash Carbonara with Sage & Pancetta

    I was loaded up on butternut squash from our CSA and was also looking for something new to try for my book club dinner.
    This recipe was warm, creamy, and super filling.

    yield: 4 servings

    2 tbs olive oil
    4oz pancetta, chopped
    1 tbs fresh sage, finely chopped
    1 2lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½" pieces
    1 small onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 C chicken broth
    12 oz fettucine or linguine
    ⅛ tsp sea salt
    ¼ tsp black pepper
    ¼ C finely grated Pecorino

    1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
    2. Add pancetta, reduce heat to medium, and cook 8-10 minutes until crisp; stir occasionally.
    3. Add sage and toss to coat.
    4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta and sage to a small bowl; set aside.
    5. Add squash, onion, and garlic to skillet; season with salt and pepper and cook 8-10 minutes until onion is translucent; stir occasionally.
    6. Add broth and bring to a boil.
    7. Reduce heat to low and simmer until squash is soft and liquid is reduced by half, 15-20 minutes.
    8. Puree mixer in a blender or using an immersion blender.
    9. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente.
    10. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
    11. Combine pasta, squash puree, and cooking liquid in the skillet and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring so that the sauce coats the pasta.
    12. Stir in pecorino, pancetta, and sage.
    13. Enjoy!

    Black Cocoa Chocolate Cake

    My Dad's birthday is at the end of November and we like to have a cake at Thanksgiving to celebrate while everyone is all together.
    My Dad looooooooooves chocolate and his only request for cake was "something chocolate".
    I found this cake recipe while scoping for new chocolate cake recipes and was intrigued by "black cocoa". Thanks to Amazon, I got my black cocoa and went to baking.
    I paired it with this buttercream recipe and it was rich, but not too rich and definitely not as rich as it looks, chocolately, and absolutely delicious....even my dog thought so.

    yield: one double layer 8" square cake or one double layer 9" round cake or one single layer 13"x9" cake

    for cake
    2 C sugar
    1 3/4 C all-purpose flour
    3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
    2 tbs black cocoa
    2 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp salt
    2 eggs, room temperature
    1 C buttermilk
    1 C strong black coffee
    1/2 C vegetable oil
    2 tsp vanilla extract

    for chocolate buttercream
    1 C salted butter, room temperature
    3 1/2 C powdered sugar
    1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
    2 tbs vanilla extract
    4 tbs heavy cream

    1. for cake: Preheat oven to 350°.
    2. Grease and flour two 8" square (or two 9" round or one 13"x9") baking pans.
    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar, flour, cocoas, baking soda, baking powder, and salt on low speed until thoroughly combined.
    4. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla.
    5. Beat on medium speed for two minutes (the batter will be very thin).
    6. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
    7. Bake for 30-35 minutes for round or square pans, 35-40 minutes for rectangular pan; until a toothpick comes out clean.
    8. Cool in pan for 10 minutes.
    9. Flip cake(s)s out of pan(s) onto a cooling rack; let cool completely.
    10. for buttercream: Cream butter for 4 minutes on medium-high speed in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
    11. Add powdered sugar and cocoa to the mixing bowl (while turned off in order to avoid a cloud).
    12. Beat on lowest speed until combined.
    13. Add vanilla, cream and increase speed to medium; beat for 3 minutes.
    14. Spread or pipe onto cooled cake(s).
    15. Enjoy!

    Chocolate Toffee Potato Chip Cookies

    For my annual cookie swap I like to test out new, maybe kind of weird recipes.
    While searching for my most recent swap, I came across Smitten Kitchen's potato chip cookies and knew that this recipe would be the perfect jumping off point to make a cookie version of Ben & Jerry's Late Night Snack ice cream.
    It worked. These cookies are delicious, intriguing, and addictive. Don't say I didn't warn you!

    1 C salted butter, room temperature
    1 C sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 C toffee bits
    1/2 C finely crush potato chips (I used Utz Kettle Classics Original)
    2 C all-purpose flour
    4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    1 tbs butter

    1. Preheat oven to 350°.
    2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper (or Silpats).
    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
    4. Cream together butter and 1/2 cup sugar on medium speed 3 minutes.
    5. Mix in vanilla, potato chips, and flour on low speed until just combined.
    6. Place remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a small bowl.
    7. Scoop tablespoon size mounds of dough and roll into balls
    8. Roll balls in the bowl of sugar until coated.
    9. Place onto parchment paper/Silpat and slightly flatten the ball using the bottom of a glass. (Cookies don't need to be too far apart because they don't spread very much).
    10. Bake cookies 15 minutes, until lightly golden at the edges.
    11. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
    12. Once cookies have cooled, melt chocolate with butter in a double boiler (or in short increments in the microwave on 50% power); stir until smooth.
    13. Place a Silpat or piece of wax paper on the counter (or the cooled baking sheet).
    14. Dip half of each cookie in the chocolate and let dry/harden on a piece of wax paper (or Silpat).
    15. Enjoy!

    Tuesday, January 6, 2015

    Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding

    My brother-in-law got me this awesome book called Dessert Express for Christmas.
    This recipe came off of page 98 and the only thing I really changed was making it one big bread pudding instead of individual ones.
    I had never really had or made bread pudding before but figured that one involving chocolate and croissants was the way to go -- and it was as delicious as you think it would be.
    8 day-old (aka stale, leave them uncovered overnight) croissants
    1 ⅓ C mini semisweet chocolate chips
    2 eggs
    2 large egg yolks
    ¾ C sugar
    1 ⅓ C half-and-half
    2 tbs butter, cold and cut into tiny pieces

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
    2. Tear 4 of the croissants into ~1" pieces and arrange in the bottom of a 8"x8" baking dish.
    3. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the croissant pieces.
    4. Tear 4 remaining croissants into ~1" pieces and arrange over the chocolate chips.
    5. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and half-and-half until well combined.
    6. Pour over baking dish.
    7. Dot butter pieces over the top of the baking dish.
    8. Bake for 40 minutes, until the bread pudding is set.
    9. Serve warm or let stand at room temperature (but really what beats warm croissants and chocolate?).
    10. Enjoy!

    Mini Cranberry Cinnamon Goat Cheese Cakes

    My brother-in-law got me this awesome book called Dessert Express for Christmas.
    Quick, easy, and delicious (it's goat cheese, duh). All of my favorite things.
    I modified (only slightly) this recipe off of page 46.
    yield: 18 mini cheesecakes

    12oz cream cheese, room temperature
    8oz Celebrity Cranberry Goat Cheese with Cinnamon
    ¾ C sugar
    2 eggs
    2 large egg yolks
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    3 tbs all-purpose flour

    1. Preheat oven to 350°.
    2. Coat a muffin pan or mini bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.
    3. In a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese, goat cheese, and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth.
    4. Add the eggs, egg yolks, flour, and vanilla; beat until well incorporated.
    5. Scoop batter into muffin pan or mini bundt pan, about ¾ full.
    6. Bake about 12 minutes, until the cakes are set around the edges but still a little jiggly in the center.
    7. Fill a large baking sheet half way with ice water.
    8. Remove the pan from the oven and set in ice bath; let cool for 5-7 minutes.
    9. Invert pan on a platter and serve, or place cheesecakes in an airtight container and refrigerate.
    10. Enjoy!

    Apple, Cranberry, Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

    This recipe tastes like fall. Nuff said.
    3 C stale bread, cut into small strips/pieces
    ½ C onion, finely diced
    ½ C celery, finely diced
    ½ lb ground pork sausage with sage (remove the casing)
    ½ tsp dried sage
    ½ tsp dried rosemary
    ½ tsp dried thyme
    1 apple, cored and diced into small chunks
    ½ C fresh cranberries
    2 tbs melted butter
    ½ C chicken stock
    1 acorn squash
    Olive oil
    ½ tbs butter, room temperature

    1. for stuffing: In a large skillet over medium heat, add a little bit of olive oil to the bottom of the pan.
    2. Add the onions, celery, and sausage; continue breaking up the sausage into little crumbles.
    3. Cook until the sausage is cooked through.
    4. Stir in spices.
    5. Add the apples, cranberries, bread, parsley, and butter.
    6. Drizzle chicken stock over mixture.
    7. for squash: Preheat the oven to 350°.
    8. Cut acorn squash in half, scoop out the seeds.
    9. Add a little olive oil in the middle of each half and use a pastry brush to coat the inside and the edges of each half.
    10. Place squash halves open side down on a baking sheet; bake for 15-20 minutes.
    11. Flip the squash over and run a fork through the middle of each half.
    12. Add ¼ tbs butter to each half and top each half with stuffing -- go ahead, be generous.
    13. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until squash is tender and stuffing is done. 
    14. Enjoy!

    Frozen Strawberry Greek Yogurt

    I am an ice cream-aholic. I have been trying to find better/healthier options.
    This froyo recipe is light and refreshing, not quite ice cream but definitely a good substitute....and super super quick and easy to make.
    4 C frozen strawberries
    3 tbs honey
    ½ C plain greek yogurt
    1 tbs lemon juice

    1. Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor (or Vitamix).
    2. Process until creamy, about 5 minutes.
    3. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze (or serve immediately if you like a little softer texture) to harden.
    4. Enjoy!